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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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They presuppose passive pupils busy absorbing what the teacher
has prepared for them. There is little chance to learn by doing,
because it is difficult for children at desks to do anything but
listen. Indeed, it would be distinctly inconvenient if they were
to attempt to do anything, because children individualize them-
selves the moment they act. All the arrangements of the ordinary
school have been made with a view to dealing with children in
masses and not as individuals. The immediate effect is a paralysis
of intellectual initiative, but the moral failure goes even deeper.
Moral education, or as it is more properly called, social education,
is only got by participation in the common aims and needs of
some society, and there is little in the learning that is done in
school to organize the pupils as a social unit. " In the school-
room, the motive and cement of social organization are alike
wanting. Upon the ethical side, the tragic weakness of the present
school is that it endeavours to prepare future members of the
social order in a medium in which the conditions of the social
spirit are eminently wanting." *

What the new times demand is a school capable of training its
scholars for complete living in the social world of to-day. Pro-
fessor Dewey's experimental school aimed at realizing this ideal.
Four main problems, in particular, seemed to him and to the
teachers associated with him at the time of its institution to press
for solution: *' (i) What can be done to bring the school into
closer relation with the home and neighbourhood life ? (2) What
can be done in the way of introducing subject-matter in history
and science and art that shall have a positive value and real
significance in the child's own life ? (3) How can instruction in
reading, writing and arithmetic, the formal subjects, be carried
on with everyday experience and occupation as the background,
and made interesting by relating them to other studies of more
inherent content? (4) How can adequate attention be paid to
individual powers and needs ? " f

JdfeJfe^P^-XteKBtfpmd^in,Aejcfeal hQma,,%3ifidel
forjjis ideal^ scJtooL In such a home, he points out, where the
parent is intelligent enough'to recognize what is best for the child
and is able to supply what is needed, we find the ctiild learning
tkrpugh the social converse and constitution of the family. By
joining in the daily conversations and taking his part in the
* School and Soctey* P- *&.